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Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball Game by Virginia Green, Patrick Raby, and John Augenstein

Posted by on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Blog posts.

Virginia Green, Patrick Raby, and John Augenstein attended the Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball game on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019. Vanderbilt played against the number one ranked basketball team at the time, Tennessee. The game went into overtime, and Vanderbilt ended up barely losing 88 to 83. The audience was composed of a mixture of Vanderbilt and Tennessee sports fans, and Patrick, John, and Virginia watched the game from the Vanderbilt student section. Patrick, John, and Virginia met upstairs in the Rand Dining Hall to discuss their experience at this exciting basketball game.


Virginia Green is a sophomore from Fairhope, Alabama who is majoring in Human and Organizational Development. Virginia is a member on the Vanderbilt Women’s Golf team.


John Augenstein is a junior from Owensboro, Kentucky who is majoring in Sociology. John is a member on the Vanderbilt Men’s Golf team.


Patrick Raby is a senior from Knoxville, Tennessee who is majoring in Human and Organizational Development. Patrick is a member on the Vanderbilt Baseball team.


V: Okay so, what was yalls expectations for this basketball season or this game beforehand?


P: I would say my expectations coming into the season was that we had a pretty good chance of being pretty good. We had some pretty good freshman recruits, Darius and Simi. I thought it was a really good chance for us having a good year and coming to this game I didn’t know what to expect because UT was ranked number one. They were on a hot streak and we were on a losing streak, but it ended up being a lot better of a game than I expected for sure.


J: Yeah, similarly I definitely thought we had a good chance of being a good team this year. I think Darius’s injuries early this year kind of took the wind out of the team a little bit. The game ended up being much better than I think many people anticipated it to be.


V: How many games into the season was this one, I don’t really keep up with basketball very much.


P: Up to this point, we had played 5 games against SEC schools and lost all of them. That’s why it was definitely unexpected to see them play that well for sure. Being from Tennessee, I know a lot about Tennessee basketball and this was supposed to be their year for basketball. Williams from UT is a beast, I mean he scored half of their team’s points at the end of the game. There was no stopping him no matter how good we played.


V: Okay, what was yalls experience at the game like? I know that I do not know very much about the rules of basketball, so for me the experience was more about being there with my friends and feeding off the other people’s reactions in the crowd. When they were cheering or booing, I found myself doing the same and that is how I gauged what was going on. I was not necessarily watching every shot or paying much attention to the players, so for me it was just fun to experience the energy of the crowd because of how close the game was.


J: Yeah, it was really loud in there due to the type of gym Vanderbilt plays in. It doesn’t take a large crowd for it to get loud in there and it was a packed house that night. With that going on and also the instate rivalry between the two teams, it was just so much fun to see the emotion being put into the game from both teams. Vanderbilt didn’t have anything to lose in that game so they were able to play very freely. With Tennessee ranked number one, it certainly seemed as though they played like they had a little bit of pressure on them.


P: In my experience at the game, I would say that it was a very intense game because every second of the game something exciting was happening. There was never a dull moment. It was one of those games where you were leaning forward ready to see what would happen next. It just seemed like it was one crazy thing happening after another, and it never stopped until the end of the game. It was a true battle between the two teams.


V:  Okay, so being student athletes at a sporting event, how do you think our experience as audience members might have been different from the experiences of other regular students who were at the game?


J: I would say that being an athlete at Vanderbilt and every other school, it means more to you because you understand what the players you are watching go through in terms of practice and everything else that goes into it. You also make personal relationships with other athletes on campus, so it is always cool to see your friends playing well in a game. It’s cool to be there supporting them and being able to talk to them afterwards.


P: Yeah, building off that I feel like because it is a pretty tight knit community of athletes here. You spend so much time with your teammates and with other teams at McGugin, so you get to know everyone pretty well. It’s almost like you just really want to pull for each other because you know what they go through. You’re more invested in how the games are going and how everyone else is doing because of this.


J: There’s definitely a pride in getting to represent your school and getting to see other athletes flourish is really exciting.


P: I feel like we all know what it’s like to go through a losing streak, so you know what it feels like to be in their shoes and you really hope for them to turn it around.


V: I know for me, when I’m at sporting events and see all the fans there cheering them on and supporting them, I can’t help but wonder what if feels like being on that court with so many people there watching you. The fans are getting hype and cheering for you, as well as booing other teams, and I wonder what that feels like to the player. Obviously golf is very different in that way because not a ton of people can be out there watching us and getting hype for us. I also wonder what it would be like for all of our tournaments to be on TV like basketball games are.


P: Yeah even being on the baseball team, our games never really sell out and we sometimes wonder what it would be like to go somewhere and have a massive fan base. I mean we definitely do have a good fanbase, but I still understand what you feel like.


J: I think that we still do see it in golf because when you get to postseason and you are at regionals and the national championship, there are tons of people watching and keeping up. That certainly does mimic it, just is not on the regular basis that basketball or football receives.


V: So, why do you think it is important to view sporting events as a theatrical performance with an audience and people on a stage?


J: I think in a way, everybody inadvertently views sporting events as theatrical performances without knowing it. Of course I have never thought of a basketball game in this way, but even though there are not lines or anything for the players there are still set plays that they do. There is also an audience that cheers when something good happens, so that is a similarity between the two.


V: Yeah, and in class we have talked about how the performers on stage feed off the audience members. So when the audience laughs, cheers, or boos, the actors on stage build off those reactions. That is relevant to sporting events as well because when you are out there playing and people are cheering you on, you certainly play off of that energy.


P: Yeah, if you think about it, theatrical performances have a storyline that keeps the audience engaged and wondering what is going to happen next. This is similar to sports because games can become very intense and the audience members never know what is going to happen next. Something crazy can always happen, so the audience is always entertained.


J: Yeah definitely and something that we see in this game in particular, Tennessee was on a winning streak and we were on a losing streak. The fact that Tennessee was the better team in this game and we still had many opportunities to win the game is something that no one would have been able to predict. I think this is what makes athletics so exciting and important to a lot of people.


V: Okay, is there anything else we want to talk about?


J: No, I think we pretty much covered it all.


V: Okay, good job guys!

3 Comments on “Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball Game by Virginia Green, Patrick Raby, and John Augenstein”

I found that the middle section’s conversation between John and Patrick was essential yet interesting because it came from the point of view of student athletes. Vandy’s basketball team, only second to Vanderbilt football brings in the most consistent live viewership. Although golf and baseball are spectator sports and even having Vandy baseball be post-national champions, it is interesting to read how no matter what sport someone is from, they indeed thrive off of the energy of the crowd. The more spectators, the more their own play is based of the crowd’s involvement and reaction. Because of their daily schedule of practices and hardwork, they do recognize the effort the basketball players put into their craft, but undoubtedly since humans are social creatures, the audience can affect their play regardless of how they practiced. It is a ambiguous balance between hardwork and responsiveness in the live show that makes basketball a type of theatre. On a personally basis, I believe that the rivalry between Tennessee and Vanderbilt played an even larger role in the outcome of the game as now there is a sense of pride in the game. Even though the team hasn’t been performing as well during the post-Garland slump, it seems as though they haven’t given up yet as they still have a Shittu and Lee to hold the team together. They seem to have taken into account that the team is only as strong as its weakest link, seeing that all the players put in 200% of the effort into the game which gives the audience a sense of hope that the team is still strong.

Eric Cho on March 27th, 2019 at 7:15 pm

I really connected to what Virginia said when she exclaimed how she did not understand the rules of basketball but still had a great time. This was me at the Basketball game that day. I had to keep asking my friends why some players were fouled and why some players were able to get free throws and others were not. During breaks, the music was loud and energetic and made people get even more hyped up. They were also throwing t-shirts into the crowd, giving away pizza and had children dance during breaks causing people to become even more hype. This had to be one of the best games I have ever been to as I felt emotions of anger, sadness, and happiness all at the same time. I am glad the students had a great time!

Hassatou Diallo on April 10th, 2019 at 10:45 am

As one of the performers in this event, I can attest to the fact that players feed off the energy of the crowd. Specifically, the UT game being discussed our team enjoyed the chants from not only our fans, but because there were so many Tennesse fans in attendance it made the environment extremely vibrant. I appreciated Virginia’s point about not necessarily understanding the game but being locked in to other fans reactions to certain plays. That is how sporting events become social gatherings. Audience interaction enhances the experience for not only the fans, but the players and performers as well.

Joseph Toye on April 18th, 2019 at 12:23 pm

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